Japanese Military Developing Mobile Powered Suits
posted on by Eric Stimson
Japan's Ministry of Defense is developing a "highly mobile powered suit" to assist soldiers' movements. It may not be the powered armor from Bubblegum Crisis, but hopefully it will go some way towards using machine power to take some of the burden off of soldiers.
A version tested in 2012
Soldiers carry a lot of equipment, and it's estimated to weigh at least 40 pounds. Performing strenuous exercise and fluid movement with all that weight is hard. The Ministry of Defense's project is meant to alleviate some of the burden and keep soldiers' motions speedy and fluid. Tens of millions of yen have been invested in the project since 2012. The ministry was inspired by the recent boom in civilian power suits, and aims to accept civilian applications next year. Judging by previous robotics projects, it estimates that the project will take three years to develop. If all goes smoothly, and the finished product passes its tests, it could be part of the military's equipment by 2018.
The military powered suit will require more durability and applicability than its civilian counterparts — it'll need to be waterproof, dust-proof, operable if shot with bullets, and functional when its wearer is sitting or lying. Its estimated cost (for now) is 900 million yen (about $7.8 million).
Here's a concept drawing of what it might look like:
For more on the latest endeavors in robotics development that call anime to mind, check out this article we posted in May.